Chances are if you’ve been on a ski holiday, you’ve experienced at least one tumble on the piste.
Although most people get back up, shake it off and leave with just their pride hurt, sometimes injuries do happen – so what do you do if you’re hurt on the slopes?
It’s a stressful experience, but there are ways to make things a little easier, especially when it comes to ensuring you’re covered and not left out of pocket.
Paul McClorry, Head of Travel Litigation at specialist injury lawyers, Hudgell Solicitors , has shared some of his top advice from what actions you should take as soon as the injury occurs, to top tips on what to do when you get home.
Check out his advice below…
Before you travel
Paul advises you really consider the travel insurance policy that you take out – make sure it includes winter sports. He suggests you not buy the cheapest or most basic policy by default, but check the policy is right for you an your holiday.
He warns: "Otherwise, you may find you’re only covered up to a certain amount or not covered at all in some circumstances.
"Remember that in most cases, travel insurance will only cover associated medical costs as well as lost luggage and flight delays, not compensation for pain or suffering, or loss of earnings."
As soon as the injury occurs
Seek medical care immediately
Paul says broken legs are the most frequent injuries he sees when dealing with ski and snowboard accident claims, but other potential injuries range from head injuries to dislocated arms.
It’s important to get medical assistance immediately – pistes often have a number for the resort’s emergency service on signs. Call it and they will be able to help you off the piste, not to mention they will know the nearest hospital.
Don’t stress about the cost
Paul explains: "Should you have suitable travel insurance or an EHIC, you won’t need to worry too much about medical costs, however if you don’t, you or someone acting on your behalf will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ Overseas Healthcare Team to apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate. This proves you’re entitled to an EHIC and can be used to get the same cover."
However, it’s worth noting that the rules around EHIC could change in the case of a no deal Brexit which could render this invalid. However, if a deal is agreed, the EHIC scheme could continue.
This isn’t always possible if you’re injured on the slopes, but try and gather as much evidence as possible, or enlist the help of someone you know.
Paul suggest noting down names and contact details of witnesses or taking pictures of the accident site and your injuries, it could come in handy further down the line.
He adds: "If possible, write up what happened to cause your injury in as much detail as you can, and include details like snow conditions, visibility, markings, signs and location. Remember to keep records of when you visited a doctor, clinic or hospital, and keep hold of any receipt for accident-related expenses."
Report the incident
If you’re on a package holiday, report your accident to the holiday organiser or resort rep.
You should also contact your travel insurance provider at the earliest possible point, as Paul notes "they will advise about your medical and legal situation".
If you are reporting the accident to local police, Paul warns: "It’s important to never admit liability or engage in any correspondence without the advice of a qualified solicitor or lawyer that specialises in this area of law."
When you get back home
Sometimes it’s a quick recovery, but sometimes you don’t realist the full impact of your injury until you’re home and living with it.
You could choose to seek legal advice in circumstances such as being unable to work and facing potential loss of earnings, or if the expenses that occur if you need rehabilitation.
Paul explains: "If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, such as another skier, a hidden obstruction, unsafe teaching techniques or faulty equipment, then you could be eligible for compensation."
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